Tanka: Saturn and Pluto

round analog clock

Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

Saturn and Pluto
come together in the Goat
Stuff hitting the fan
pulling the plug on the swamp
Who said it would be easy?

copyright Francis Barker 2019

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Arthur Storer – First known American astronomer, ‘discoverer’ of what became known as Halley’s Comet

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Photo by Francis Barker

We recently visited the small market town of Grantham in Lincolnshire in the east of England and found out something new and interesting.

Among the notable people associated with Grantham are Sir Isaac Newton, who was born nearby and former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, who was raised in the town in her father’s shop.

Astronomer and Mathematician

Walking through the town and by the wonderful church, we came across the old school building, upon which is a notice, bearing the name of Arthur Storer, identifying him as an astronomer and mathematician. I have to confess, up to that point, I had never heard of him.

It turns out that he knew Isaac Newton and probably had a fight with him when they were boys. However, the two later became friends and scientific associates, Newton recognising Storer’s contribution in his most famous work Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica. 

Fine Reputation

What I did not know was that Storer effectively became the first known astronomer in America and he developed a reputation for accuracy which outlived him.

Storer seems to have initially trained to be an apothecary, the profession of his step father, William Clarke of Grantham. However, it would appear that his real interests lay in the science of astronomy.

Journeys to Maryland

He would later travel to Maryland in North America, to observe all astronomical phenomena there. Later he would make a second trip to Maryland to do more astronomical work, sending his calculations to Isaac Newton.

A consequence of this work was that one comet he observed, in 1682, would later turn out to be Halley’s Comet, named after Edmund Halley who became the first to forecast its next appearance.

Sadly, Storer did not live to be an old man, dying in early 1687. He is buried in Maryland.

copyright Francis Barker 2019

‘Summer Picnic’, A Completed Painting – Inspired by Monet

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see link: portfolio

Here is one of my completed paintings, inspired by French artist Monet, probably my favourite impressionist.

As they say about art and creation in general, it is about 5% inspiration and 95% perspiration… certainly the case with this example.

This original oil painting is on stretched canvas, see above link for details.

Other paintings will appear in my portfolio in due course.

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copyright Francis Barker 2019

Tanka: Signs of the Times

abundance achievement bank banknotes

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

How long can it last
this awful corrupted age?
Who am I to judge?
The information is there
I draw my own conclusions

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Poem: The Church Is Closed

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It’s Sunday and the west door is locked.
I’ve tried it, checked my watch, the date.
Yes it’s true, I can’t go inside.
So I walk around, a facade, that’s all it is,
tall and beautiful it may be,
with some of the finest medieval stone work anywhere,
in a county already noted for its
ecclesiastical glories – but
it’s a fossil now of former faith,
where lip services are still carried out,
fed through the waterless canals of devotion,
enacted by the tired words of priests
standing before a withered congregation,
the last one leaving making sure the door
is locked behind them
to preserve the emptiness of our time

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Haiku: Asteroid

planet earth

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It’s silly season
An asteroid is coming
but where would it land?

copyright Francis Barker 2019

Poem: Tethered

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The sodden flag won’t fly in the rain
no matter which way the wind blows
They’ve hung it upside down
without thought or care
except to state some kind of patriotism
their piece of earth
which they can still call home

I could tell them I suppose
let them get to know
their pedantic neighbour
who only speaks to complain
like all the other tethered goats
staring blankly out at swelling puddles
which spoil the well tended lawns

copyright Francis Barker 2019